Saturday, December 20, 2014

Science

Pittsburgh firm offers ‘moon mail’ delivery to help fund lunar rover mission in Google contest

PITTSBURGH — An outer-space delivery firm that is working with Carnegie Mellon University to put a privately owned lunar rover on the moon is offering to “mail” personal keepsakes to the moon as a way to help fund the partnership’s rocket launch.

Scientists: Lengthy slump in Great Lakes water levels is over, but long-term future uncertain

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Two unusually wet years have finally ended the lengthiest period on record of low Great Lakes water levels — a blessing for long-suffering cargo shippers and recreational boaters — although scientists said Tuesday it’s uncertain whether the recovery is temporary or heralds a trend.

Researchers show how stem cells are reprogrammed, should spur treatment discovery

TORONTO — A Canadian-led international team of researchers has begun solving the mystery of just how a specialized cell taken from a person’s skin is reprogrammed into an embryonic-like stem cell, from which virtually any other cell type in the body can be generated.

Researchers show how stem cells are reprogrammed, should spur treatment discovery

TORONTO — A Canadian-led international team of researchers has created the first high-resolution characterization of the process in which stem cells are formulated from other specialized cells.
The research is being touted as a breakthrough in utilizing stem cells to treat or even cure a host of diseases in the future. Certain stem cells have the potential to become any cell type in the body.

More humpback whales being spotted in waters off NYC, as close as 1 mile from Queens

NEW YORK — Maybe they want to sing on Broadway.
Humpback whales, the gigantic, endangered mammals known for their haunting underwater songs, have been approaching New York City in greater numbers than even old salts can remember.

Orion splashes down after test

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.—NASA’s new Orion spacecraft made a “bull’s-eye” splashdown in the Pacific late this morning following a dramatic test flight that took it to a zenith height of 3,600 miles and ushered in a new era of human exploration aiming for Mars.
NASA is counting on future Orions to carry astronauts beyond Earth’s orbit—to asteroids and ultimately the grand prize: Mars.

Orion test flight scrubbed

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.—Wind gusts and sticky fuel valves conspired to keep NASA’s new Orion spacecraft on the launch pad today—delaying a crucial test flight meant to revitalize human exploration.
NASA promised to try again tomorrow morning.

Orion set for test flight

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.—NASA’s quest to send astronauts out into the solar system begins this week with a two-laps-around-Earth test flight.
The new Orion spacecraft is not going to Mars just yet; Thursday’s debut will be unmanned and last just four-and-a-half hours.

Actor-turned-part-time professor Alan Alda challenges scientists to explain sleep to children

MINEOLA, N.Y. — Actor-turned-part-time professor Alan Alda has a new challenge for scientists: Explain sleep to an 11-year-old.
The television and film star best known for his role in the 1970s sitcom “MASH” has had a lifelong interest in science.
The New York native teaches at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University on Long Island.

Perusing Harry Potter for science? Scans show brain activity as readers get caught in a story

WASHINGTON — Reading about Harry Potter’s adventures learning to fly his broomstick activates some of the some of the same regions in the brain we use to perceive real people’s actions and intentions.
In a novel study, scientists who peeked into the brains of people caught up in a good book emerged with maps of what a healthy brain does as it reads.

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